New Zealand’s most shameful secret: ‘We have normalised child poverty’

Written By: - Date published: 4:01 pm, August 16th, 2016 - 175 comments
Categories: child welfare, class, class war, discrimination, housing, human rights, Media, welfare - Tags: , , , ,

New Zealand making front page news in international media again. This time in a piece by Eleanor Ainge Roy in the Guardian. Below are some quoted excerpts from a piece that really should be read in full.

One-third of the country’s children, or 300,000, now live below the poverty line – 45,000 more than a year ago.

…, houses are wooden, damp and mouldy and often hold in excess of 10 people. Young children walk the streets in mid-winter with no shoes and gummy eyes. Looming over polluted streams and rubbish-strewn parks is the vast Double Brown Beer Brewery.

“Child poverty has always been here – especially among Maori and Pacific populations – but it wasn’t until homeless people started interrupting middle-class voters having coffee in central Auckland that the government decided to ‘tackle’ it.” said Kaa.

“If it’s segregated in South Auckland, fine. If it’s interrupting my latte asking me for money, we have a problem.”

“The consistent message from the government is that work is the route out of poverty, even though around 37% of children in poverty have two parents with two incomes,” said associate professor Michael Anthony O’Brien from the school of social work at Auckland University, who is also a member of the Child Poverty Action Group.

“The government is doing as little as they can get away with … the most significant action they’ve taken is increasing the benefit by about $25 a week for beneficiaries with kids. That’s it – that’s the biggest thing they’ve done.”

Darrin Hodgetts, a professor of societal psychology at Massey University and an expert on poverty in New Zealand, said the government’s stance that jobs would lead poor families out of poverty was nothing more than propaganda.

“We have to stop blaming the poor for being poor,” he said.

“The myth that these families are somehow inherently dysfunctional and they can’t look after their kids. That is not true. That children are failing because their families are bad. It is not true. The state is abusive, the welfare system is abusive, and after decades of this many people can’t cope.”

“It’s cut-throat in New Zealand. If you’re struggling you get left behind.”

As Saitu pores over files of documentation – applications for benefits, applications for disability assistance, applications for help – her two daughters draw pictures in the misted glass of the motel room. Looking in from outside the whole door is covered in their finger paintings – squiggly patterns, rain drops and a frowning sun.

“New Zealand is ashamed of us, they want to forget about us,” said Saitu, aggressively wiping tears from her eyes.

“New Zealand doesn’t want my children.”

175 comments on “New Zealand’s most shameful secret: ‘We have normalised child poverty’”

  1. Guerilla Surgeon 1

    The shame lies partly on the fact that I had to read it in the bloody Guardian. Why isn’t it splashed all over the front pages of our newspapers? Why isn’t that arse on seven sharp whose name I can never remember probably because I think he’s an arse, bleating on about it?

  2. adam 2

    And yet we have a labour party who won’t talk about the poor. Those on benefits or anyone in trouble.

    Too much time feathering an image of unity than having a moral bottom line.

    The left in New Zealand is one group, providing one voice in a sea of neocon/neolib lies and misinformation. Oh the one group, the one voice I hear you ask – well not the standard. But the Child Poverty Action Group, the lone voice or reason in a sea of B.S and amoral game playing.

    Where is labour, talking about houses for the middle class, maybe medical cannabis, maybe, or spying – because they support spying – working people are not to be trusted.

    The labour party is Stephen from Django Unchained. They know there is a problem, but master is always right. So bugger the 300000+ kids in poverty, there problem for being born anyway.

    • Leftie 2.1

      Adam, shouldn’t you also be asking where is the National GOVERNMENT? Where is their partner, the Maori Party?

    • Sabine 2.2

      Luckily we have a labour party so we don’t have to speak about the National Party who has led the Government for the last 8.5 years and who in doing nothing has helped to create the crisis we are dealing with.

      • Leftie 2.2.1

        +1 Sabine.

      • Bill 2.2.2

        Wasn’t the point simply that even with this shit going down, the main Opposition is all kind of quiet, rather than that they’re to blame? (I will note that the article points out that childhood poverty has doubled since 1984 and leave you to make of that what you will.)

        But I’m thinking it’s a fairly valid observation to make, that Labour tends to focus on middle class issues (eg – home buyers) at the expense of tackling issues affecting the working class (eg – homelessness).

        I wouldn’t suggest that focus is exclusive, but it does seem to be heavily weighted. And sure, it makes sense when you’re an org seeking both power and the preservation of the status quo.

        Now, should that position be free from criticism? I don’t think so.

        • McFlock 2.2.2.1

          Although, TBFair, the bulk of the rise was post 1990, and there’s a dip that goes from 2001-2007.

          Labour should have done more, and shouldn’t be free from criticism by any means. But the bulk of criticism deserves to be thrown at the nats.

          • Bill 2.2.2.1.1

            Y’know how when a dam starts to give, there’s a delay before the full flood of water cascades? 1984 was the dam giving. By the 90s the wall of water was coming down. And me analogy runs out there, because I can’t quite think of how to characterise 2001 – 2007…finger in the dyke type stuff that did nothing for the poverty levels of the unemployed.

            And now we’re back to full flood…because the ameliorating effect of ‘working for families’ has worn out?

            Whatever – who dropped the fucking bomb behind the dam in the first place?

            I’ve heard Labour peeps (MPs) conveniently claim that ’84 is irrelevant and forgotten. Now, I wasn’t even here in ’84 but ‘remember’ it, if you know what I mean. So if I ‘remember’ it, I’m guessing most Kiwi’s remember it – even if they can’t articulate the politics of it.

            And in the middle of possibly the most boring fecking revolution ever (the financial sector’s capture of politics) – there are precious few voices speaking up or speaking out. Nothing’s happening. Everything’s normal.

            Hell. Are there even such things as protest groups on University Campuses these days? There used to be dozens.

            From the perspective of a fairly unpoliticised population, if there was something amiss, then the Opposition would be speaking out, right? And they’re not. So everything’s fine.

            And that is the stick that Labour deserve to be absolutely pummeled with every time they fudge, triangulate or in any way rationalise or condone this fucking mess we’re in. If ever there was a time when an Opposition should be speaking out vociferously and apologetically, it’s at times like these.

            Otherwise they’re a part of the problem.

            • Paul 2.2.2.1.1.1

              Until Labour apologise unreservedly for 1984 to 1990, they are just another wing of the neoliberal enemy.

              • Chris

                For 1999 to 2008, too. A lot of bad shit happened then as well.

                • Paul

                  Yes, they have to apologise for their support of neo-liberal ideology and change all policies to reflect that.
                  Or they will die as a party.

                  • Leftie

                    What good will it do? You can’t change the past Paul, and you are being a bit over dramatic there. Labour is still here despite the Lange government and have had a relatively successful 3 termed government since then, particularly in comparison with this National government.

              • Leftie

                What good will it do Paul? It doesn’t change anything. Will it help people drowning in poverty today? Didn’t Goff apologize during the 2011 election campaign and say Labour made mistakes but have learnt from them? Maybe we should call on John key, who will never apologize for what he has done, to apologize for Bolger, Shipley, Richardson, Muldoon and Sidney Holland. Do you think that will fix it all?

              • Doogs

                I hate it when people look back and castigate all and sundry for historical misdemeanours. Look, Labour of 1984 bears little if any resemblance to Labour of 2016. We need to be forward looking and cut out the retrospective shit.

                If you want to have a go at what Labour isn’t doing right now, OK, fair enough. If you want to do that, then FGS be a bit constructive with it. The future was never built by knocking down all the walls.

                Judicious deconstruction and careful reconstruction is the way to go.

            • Bill 2.2.2.1.1.2

              pfft – unapologetically. 🙄

            • weston 2.2.2.1.1.3

              I havnt seen or heard of a student protest for years yet the student body used to be so powerfull sufficiently so that governments were fearfull of them .How the mighty have fallen once you’d pick up a capping mag and it would damn near burn your fingers be hillarious extreamly lewd and give anyone in power as much shit as it felt like .do capping mags even still exist ?
              now only the students down south seem to have much of a rep for rattling their chains and even then they are heavily censured for lame shit like burning fucking couches .

              • Doogs

                Problem is only the rich kids from neo-lib backgrounds are populating the main halls of learning these days. That’s why there isn’t any serious protest any more. Also, the ones who are there from the struggle classes who might protest are not in enough numbers, or don’t hold the positions of power in the student leadership.

            • Chris 2.2.2.1.1.4

              1999 to 2008 was way worse than finger in the dyke stuff. Labour was actively taking an axe to things too. The special benefit went in 2004 and its 2007 amendment Act changed the purpose of welfare from protecting people to chucking people into non-existent jobs. The baton was then passed to National in 2008. The Clark government did a lot of the spadework.

              • Leftie

                It’s all Labour’s fault what the key regime have and are doing that is causing unprecedented poverty and homelessness. John key, his National government, the silent Maori party, Peter Dunne and Act are not accountable for their own actions whatsoever, and have done no wrong in the 8 and 1/2 years of being in power and have nothing to answer for because Labour made them do it, isn’t that right Chris?

            • Leftie 2.2.2.1.1.5

              But Labour is not the only party in opposition. How many Kiwis in the generations since the 80’s remember the Lange government? It’s just playing the blame game and it distracts from what is happening today, which is the point others were making. Quite incredible really that New Zealand hit the international headlines with shameful stats in homelessness and poverty and childhood diseases more akin to a third world country that has spiraled to unprecedented levels under the key National government of 8 and 1/2 years, and it’s Labour that gets roasted. Go figure.

            • McFlock 2.2.2.1.1.6

              Lab4 was bad.

              But the dam breaking was 1991 – mother of all budgets. That immediately cut the incomes of the poorest people to below subsistence. Yes, lab4 made a bit over half of those people unemployed, but it was national that kicked them in the guts.

              • Leftie

                …when they said they wouldn’t.

                • McFlock

                  I’m sure Lockwood’s signed pledge to get rid of the student loan scheme and fees is still around somewhere. Cock.

              • weka

                And then Labour had 3 terms under Clark and did sweet fuck all about remedying the situation, and in fact made it worse by cutting the hardship grant and excluding beneficiares from WFF. Post-Clark Labour has been symbolised by Shearer’s painter on the roof story and active engagement of bene bashing.

                Labour offer some pain relief while they kick you in the guts, which is a good enough reason to vote left, but it’s not a good enough reason to say Labour are alright really because they’re not as bad as National.

                I think Little is different, better, and it remains to be seen what he will do that’s useful. At the moment he and Labour are focussed on people on the dole, which means all the other benes will probably get left behind. again.

                • McFlock

                  I’m not saying “Labour are alright really because they’re not as bad as National”.

                  I’m saying that I really don’t understand why people will apparently read a post about homelessness doubling or child poverty increasing to a full third under national’s watch and respond by writing comments that focus exclusively on why Labour are shit. Not anything constructive or realistic, just unrelenting bile.

                  Just another derail, sigh…

                  • Leftie

                    +1 McFlock.

                    • weka

                      No, I asked you twice to clarify what you said do that I could understand. You have refused to do that so I’m going with my interpretations. Feel free to correct me.

                      That’s different than you making statements about my views, me telling you you are wrong, and you keeping in restating your misinterpretation.

                      It’s about whether people are willing to back up what they say. I am, you’re not. It’s important because in debate culture like this one it’s what brings forth better truth.

                    • Chris

                      Leftie’s “Labour good, National bad” isn’t just boring but is wholly dangerous. An attitude that refuses to question, is willfully blind and purely ignorant and which hides behind the bullshit belief which is “at least they’re better than the other mob” is akin to collusion with the oppressors. That’s why it needs to be stomped on at every opportunity.

                  • weka

                    Well they are the opposition, so they should be speaking out and starting to produce policy that marks them as different from their former incarnations (i.e. for the middle classes). I don’t see a subthread exclusively focussed on Labour-bashing (and you will recall I have spoken out against gratuitous Labour bashing a lot). I see some informed and thoughtful commentary on the fact that National are shit, and once Labour gain power, some of us remain to be convinced that much will change. Sure, it will definitely change for some, just like it did under Clark, but there will be people left behind. Again. That’s important to discuss.

                    We all know National are shit and destroying the country, so what are we going to do about it? Reform National? I don’t think so. Focussing on the left makes sense given that’s where any change will occur.

                    • adam

                      Well said weka

                    • Leftie

                      But that “discussion” if you want to call it that, is based on assumption Weka, and it doesn’t make sense to crucify Labour for what the Nats, that includes the Maori party, who have been in government for 8 1/2 years, are doing that has allowed poverty, homelessness and 3rd world diseases to increase into the unprecedented levels they are at today. The current Labour party is not the same as Clark’s and there is an MoU now with the Greens. Andrew Little is calling for the Greens and NZ First to be represented on the Intelligence and Security Committee. Out of small things big things grow. Labour’s website says it’s reviewing it’s policies, I would say a number of crucial policy announcements won’t be happening until or close to the election.

                    • weka

                      “it doesn’t make sense to crucify Labour for what the Nats, that includes the Maori party”

                      I haven’t read the whole thread, so perhaps you could link to a couple of comments that you think are holding Labour to account for what National and the Mp have done. Or do you mean that Labour (current) have no reponsibilities in this at all?

                    • McFlock

                      And yet there are comments in this thread that discuss it without mentioning National once.

                      Labour have spoken out against poverty, against shit housing, on unemployment figures.

                      Adam’s initial bleating about “Where is labour” changes nothing because ignoring what Labour is actually doing writes him off as someone who can be ignored because he obviously sees only what he wants to see anyway.

                      Griping as a force for change only works if there’s a point to it, and if credit is also given where it’s due.

                    • Leftie

                      +1 McFlock.

                    • weka

                      @McFlock, what about Bill? You can write adam off because you don’t like his tone or approach, but that doesn’t mean that the issues raised by multiple people aren’t valid.

                      I don’t get the whole “you have to condemn National” thing. Do you honestly believe that Bill, adam, or myself don’t hold National accountable for their shit?

                      The point still stands. Labour have a very bad history when it comes to the underclasses. Little appears to be moving, but it remains to be seen whether that will be meaningful for the underclasses.

                    • weka

                      @leftie, I’ll just note that you won’t engage with the actual arguments or points that people raise.

                    • Leftie

                      That is just your opinion Weka, I note questions and points raised by myself and others have not been addressed.

                    • weka

                      There’s nothing ‘just’ about it. It’s my opinion that I’ve replied to your comments with valid points that you are unwilling or analects to engage with and hence the intolerance for dissent.

                    • Leftie

                      But questions have not been addressed. It appears to be a one way opinion on your part Weka.

                    • weka

                      In this subthread, you made a statement. I asked you to clarify. You haven’t. If you don’t want people to engage with your comments, that’s fine, but it’s also fine for me to note that you seem unwilling to debate the points.

                    • McFlock

                      @McFlock, what about Bill? You can write adam off because you don’t like his tone or approach, but that doesn’t mean that the issues raised by multiple people aren’t valid.

                      Hell, if I could do half the work Bill’s done, I’d be pretty chuffed.
                      But the comment I replied to was entirely about Labour, when National are by far the most damaging criminals. And also he took the arbitrary 1984 line for a measure that remained largely constant over three data points under Lab4, but skyrocketed at the same time as the Ruthenasia budget.

                      I don’t get the whole “you have to condemn National” thing. Do you honestly believe that Bill, adam, or myself don’t hold National accountable for their shit?

                      Not in response to this post, no. I know some of you work incredibly hard elsewhere, but the fact is that in response to this post, like many others, national gets off lightly at the expense of some people’s love of calling other lefties “neoliberal”.

                      The point still stands. Labour have a very bad history when it comes to the underclasses. Little appears to be moving, but it remains to be seen whether that will be meaningful for the underclasses

                      Which is a fair comment. Would it be fair to have it as the only comment someone makes about the normalisation of poverty in NZ, when Labour haven’t even been in government for 8 years? Probably not so much.

                    • Leftie

                      I never said Labour had no responsibility at all Weka, and I felt that McFlock had covered it extremely well in all of his responses, it wasn’t a matter of engagement or an unwillingness to debate. Clearly that’s not been the case. I note my questions and points have still not been addressed. Maybe you should have read the thread first.

                    • weka

                      “it doesn’t make sense to crucify Labour for what the Nats, that includes the Maori party”

                      You still haven’t said who is doing that in this conversation. In the absence of you not clarifying I can only assume that believe that any criticism of Labour is equivalent to blaming Labour for National’s (in)actions. The other interpretation is that you fail to understand that there are legitimate reasons to criticise Labour that have nothing to do with National. Trying to make out that that is crucifying Labour for Nationals actions is skewing the debate badly.

                      I get that you don’t like Labour being criticised, but I don’t see you addressing the actual criticisms. This isn’t going to go away, and Labourites will need to get their heads around this before the next election.

                      I have read all your comments in this subthread btw. What I see you doing is objecting to people criticising Labour. That’s all.

                    • Leftie

                      I thought you posted that you hadn’t read the thread in full. But that’s rubbish Weka it’s been well pointed out in the discussion, which also includes counter opinions to your opinions. I know you do not like any criticisms of National’s silent Maori party, and I think that is a major influence in your responses. My questions etc still remain unanswered.

                    • weka

                      You’re the only person who made that claim and you won’t explain it. That’s fine, I can go with my own interpretations.

                      I have no problem with McFlock’s comments because he addresses actual points instead of just saying don’t criticise Labour!

                      That shit about the Mp, you just made that up. But it is another good example of your unwillingness to engage with ideas even when they are well explained to you.

                    • Leftie

                      I think you were going with your own interpretations anyway and you are sensitive when it’s comes to any criticisms against the Maori party, hence no response to questions asked. You are splitting hairs Weka, and I said more than just that and I wasn’t the only one to make that particular point. I have not been as subtle as others. McFlock covered it extremely well in his responses, that I indicated on a number of occasions that I agreed with. In fact, I agree with all of McFlocks comments in relation to this, and I saw no point in repeating what he has said. It was pretty clear and didn’t require any “interpretations”.

                    • weka

                      You’re still making shit up about my politics re the Mp. I take a pretty dim view of that. You can consider this a general warning.

                    • Leftie

                      Really surprised you said that, particularly after the “debate” we had sometime back on another thread.

                    • weka

                      I’m the only person that knows what my politics are. If you feel that your opinions are correct then back them up and we can debate it. Otherwise stop because you are making misleading statements about my position.

                    • Leftie

                      Yet you seem to think you know mine. Will leave you to it Weka. I don’t want to get banned.

                  • adam

                    I’m calling BS McFlock you thin skinned plonker.

                    Some labour MP’s have rehashed comments from the Child Poverty Action Group – sure. But what have they done? Go on, list the last six weeks where they have challenged national and their appalling record. On this issue if you get above 4 comments I will be shocked. I’m struggling to find four with this search “labour party child poverty news 2016” go on google it yourself you muppet.

                    And where have labour once, just once said they will change the underlying structural and economics which keep this poverty in place. I’d love a link to that.

                    You just don’t like it when people challenge labour, and point out their history is actually troubling on this issue. And people have a right to know that they are actually pretty bloody awful when dealing with the poor.

                    You just need to realise I hate what national have done, and let me reiterate because numbskulls like you have a problem reading – I support the child action poverty group – who do nothing but be critical of this national government.

                    You just want to deny there is a problem with the labour party around poverty.

                    • Leftie

                      No one is denying anything, and Mcflock is right though, Adam.
                      Most of the time the National government refuses to even say the word “poverty.” Your diatribe is derailing and is not constructive.

                    • McFlock

                      try this link.

                      And that’s just press relesease, not speeches or what have you.

                      CPAG are one of many organisations that do good work. That doesn’t mean Labour does nothing. Similarly, you want to know about the underlying economics – you do realise that Labour has been doing the “Future of Work” project? Expect some interesting policies coming out of that next election.

                      I don’t mind people challenging Labour, I’ve done it myself. Labour are far from perfect. But some folks here run the tired “Labour did it too” line more often than the fucking tories, and on thinner excuses for relevance.

                      My point is that if you put half your effort into ranting about National rather than going on about your political ex-partner, you might actually come up with something interesting to say, or even find some new party to share your affections with.

                  • Chris

                    It’s not bile but it is unrelenting and it needs to be because Labour has shown no indication that its position on welfare benefits and beneficiaries has changed since last time in government and that things will be any different if in government in 2017. Labour’s even shown signs that it will be more of the same by voting with the government on anti-poor legislation as recently as 2014. As Weka pointed out recently, we all know that Key and National are shit. Just repeating that over and over adds nothing new and we know they won’t change. Labour is a very different story and are crucial to positive change. The trouble is that they’re not willing to even acknowledge that what they did between 1999 and 2008 or that voting with the government in 2014 were mistakes let alone categorically say how they’re going to fix things. And so for as long as Labour leaves us assuming that it’ll be more of the same then we need to continue to be unrelenting in the hope that maybe Labour will show some guts and be a proper Labour Party instead of one that screws the poor before handing the baton to the tory scum to carry on with the job whenever it’s their turn again.

                    • McFlock

                      A few points:

                      1) that many words without a paragraph is not merely “unrelenting”. It’s poorly-constructed, stream-of-consciousness prose.

                      2) You might know national are shit, but the emphasis on criticising Labour instead does not give that impression.

                      3) Your assumptions are your own.

                      4) “Proper Labour” is your opinion. Decisions they make being “mistakes” are your opinion. “Anti poor” is your opinion. Although they might be your opinion, they are simply meaningless labels that in no way will persuade Labour to “show some guts” and conform to your specific expectations.

                      What will change Labour’s policy is research, logical argument, lobbying, membership participation, encouragement, and not being a dickhead. Dale Carnegie sold a lot of books because he was largely correct. I suggest you read them.

                    • Chris

                      I promise to try harder next time, o superior one.

                    • McFlock

                      Excellent.

                    • Leftie

                      +1 McFlock and on all your comments.

                  • Doogs

                    Excellent observation. My thoughts entirely. More historical shit full of sound and fury, signifying . . . nothing!

                    • Chris

                      When a political party does a whole lot of bad shit in the past and at no time says what they did was bad then carry on doing bad shit then would you describe that bad shit and criticism of it as mere “historical shit full of sound and fury, signifying . . . nothing!”? Well, that’s what Labour’s done and is still doing. So if you think that ‘signifies nothing’ you’re an unquestioning idiot – everything that’s wrong with the so-called left in NZ today.

          • Chris 2.2.2.1.2

            “Labour should have done more, and shouldn’t be free from criticism by any means. But the bulk of criticism deserves to be thrown at the nats.”

            I don’t think it’s a matter of saying who should receive the bulk of the blame or the criticism. As Weka said elsewhere, we all know what the nats are and what they do. While personally I despise Labour for doing very similar stuff as the nats and even publicly condoning what they’ve done, the real point in criticising Labour is threefold. Firstly, it reminds or more likely points out to the public what Labour’s done and what they’re likely to do again (because they haven’t satisfied us that they won’t). Secondly, it sends a message to Labour that people are watching them and that they’re not going to get such an easy run again like they did between 1999 and 2008 when they got away with a whole lot of bad shit simply because people were caught off-guard. Never again. Sure, people keep saying “at least Labour’s better than National”, but we expect bad shit from the nats. We certainly don’t expect what happened in the Clark years to have come from a Labour government. Thirdly, while it’s certainly not the only way to tell Labour they need to change, it sure as hell is one way, and is something that must continue until they do change.

            • McFlock 2.2.2.1.2.1

              Why do stuff that “reminds or more likely points out to the public what Labour’s done and what they’re likely to do again” without reminding them about National? The same public that voted the nats in, after all.

              As for “sending a message”, Labour are used to people bitching about them. It seems to go with the territory. People during in Lab5, and during Lab4. Maybe you consider just what message they are receiving, rather than tying up the airwaves for the sake of sending any old “message”?

              You can tell Labour they need to change. “Need to” for what? Your vote? Maybe Labour read some of the “messages” and reckon that your vote would alienate several other voters?

              • Chris

                1. Because we know what the nats have done and what they’re like. A lot of people on the left aren’t aware of what Labour did and that there’s little if any assurance they won’t do it again. A lot of that went unnoticed because nobody was expecting it from a left wing party. Even on this site there’s been people surprised and horrified to see what Labour did to social welfare during the Clark years. Whether the nats are more to blame of not that’s not the point. At the very least Labour, after 1990 but particularly in 2008, paved the way for the nats to continue unchallenged with the same agenda. People know what the nats are about, but many don’t know the part Labour plays in all of this.

                2. I don’t think Labour is “used to people bitching about them”. If they are and it means they don’t care then they need to hear more of it until they do care. And I don’t think you can call a view to making a stand against what the nats do in relation to the welfare of the most vulnerable as “sending any old message”. Whether you call it asking for a more compassionate approach to the poor or revisiting traditional Labour values it doesn’t matter. Labour hasn’t made that stand against what the nats are doing and in their silence appear to want to carry on with a position they’ve been taking as recently as 2014 which was to vote with the nats on anti-poor legislation. If Labour’s still taking that approach and there’s nothing to suggest they’ll be changing any time soon then we need to keep sending the “message” that they need to change.

                3. So voting with the government to screw beneficiaries is a legitimate tactic to get votes? Apart from the fact that trying to beat the right-wing at their own game didn’t work and doesn’t ever work, I’d say that’s even more reason to keep sending Labour the message which is that they need to change.

      • adam 2.2.3

        Sabine, I was quite happy for the Child Poverty Action Group do the criticism of this bent and twisted national government.

        I think they speak for the whole left when they criticise the woeful excuse of leadership and policy shown by this national government on this issue.

        Do you think I’d actually defend the Tory scum?

        If we have an opposition who can’t and won’t defend the poor and destitute then they need to be criticised. Especially as we hear from them they are the so called party of the left.

        • Sabine 2.2.3.1

          this is not about what i think or not think.

          i would like to focus on National. They are currently running the show. I would like to blame them for not doing it better then Labour. How about that?

          • adam 2.2.3.1.1

            What is an opposition for then?

            And labour had 9 solid years to address the issue, and deal with it. It is not as if this issue suddenly appear out of the blue.

            Yes national have exacerbate the issue 10 fold, here, have a close look at what the Child Poverty Action Group are saying – wonderful stuff.

            http://www.cpag.org.nz/

            My problem is labour are deafeningly quiet on the issue.

            And I will have a go anyone who is quite on the issue! More so the left, because they say they are on our side.

            In the real world, words means nothing, actions speak.

            • Sabine 2.2.3.1.1.1

              yes and Labour did take over from Shipley. So we are back to square one.

              Fast forward now to 2016 after 8.5 years of National. There is no action coming from National in anything regarding the well being of the population. And while Labour are not the best, they are neither the worst.

              i came accross this today and it is so true and so telling:

              “We don’t build decent houses because that costs more money, so we let our kids get asthma instead.”

              and this is the kiwi mindset in a nutshell. Its not labour or National, it is people that vote for those that offer them cheap crap to make up for the stuff they loose, no tax on speculation cause it beats working, hungry kids en masse so a few can get fat. And its ok, cause life choices and the likes, so yeah, lets again rehash how all of this is Labours doing. And only Labours doing. Nothing to do with people voting for Greed and Avarice, nothing to do with the current lot of politicians not giving a shit about anyone but themselves. its all just labours fault. Ohmegosh it must feel good being National, they can shit all over the place and someone will come and say that Laobur did it too and btw when they did it they had the runs.

              • adam

                On this topic, yeah I’m going labour did it as well, but actually worse. Because labour actually knew there was a problem, then when it got electorally uncomfortable, they ignored it. They had this little programme called ‘closing the gaps’. And when white NZ got upset that Maori and Pacific we getting a little extra help – they axed it.

                It was like stealing land was not enough, they cut off any way for people to help themselves out of the grind of poverty.

                If you want to give a free pass to labour for this – that is your choice Sabine.

                I’m not going to, not when they had a way to deal with it, then chose not to.

                Also the deathly quiet since, it’s a little more than disturbing.

                And when did I say national are not scum sucking bottom feeders on this issue, and should be held accountable? I missed that. I’m saying and have said, we should all support the Child Poverty Action Group as they are offering the best, clearest and strongest voice on this issue.

                • Leftie

                  Are you implying National don’t know there are problems and that’s why you are giving the Nats a free pass? How is the inequality gap today after 8 and 1/2 years of the Nats/Maori party? Where the Maori party Adam? isn’t that silence deafening? They have been sitting at National’s table for 8 and 1/2 years, so where are they? The maori Party said they supported National so they could put food on the table of poor Maori, well where is it? Maori have been bearing the brunt of National’s regime with the Maori Party “sitting at the table”

                  • adam

                    You do obtuse well leftie.

                    Where in any post above did I give national a free pass?

                    I’m guessing you are too lazy or too dim to actually read the link I put up, and I’m guessing you can’t comprehend why I support the Child Poverty Action Group so strongly.

                    Look you nincompoop, it’s not just about blaming national – this issue goes to the core of the problem – the underlying economics. If you don’t want to address that – your are nothing more than a boorish lummox. While we are at it – you should change your name to national hater or maybe Māori Party hater – because sloganeering is all you are good for.

                    • Leftie

                      Rubbish Adam. Whilst rubbishing the hell out of the Labour Party, you’re not talking about the National government or it’s partner the Maori party of 8 1/2 years. Still not a word on that I notice, but you have spent time and energy on lots of pointless abuse.

                    • adam

                      Let me repeat, you do obtuse well leftie.

                    • weka

                      Whilst rubbishing the hell out of the Labour Party, you’re not talking about the National government or it’s partner the Maori party of 8 1/2 years. Still not a word on that I notice, but you have spent time and energy on lots of pointless abuse.

                      Actually the post isn’t about National per se. It’s about how “we” have normalised child-poverty. If you want to make the case that National is 100% responsible for that I’d certainly be interested to see you try.

                      But most of us see multiple causes, inside and outside of party policy and values. That includes Labour. They have culpability in this, and so long as the Labour stalwarts like yourself try and deflect conversation away from that, the more people will distrust Labour.

                      The arguments being made here aren’t CV-esque. They’re actually full of substance and meaning.

                      btw, it’s a given that lefties like adam, Bill etc are well aware of the fuckedupness of National. Really all that I need to say in this thread is National are shit and damaging the country. We all know this. Some of us want the conversation to get beyond that.

                      I don’t agree with everything adam is saying, but a kneejerk reaction against his arguments instead of engaging the points is disappointing. We’re here to contest ideas, not do party political broadcasts (you can remind me of that next time I’m defending the Greens 😉 ), so let’s contest the ideas!

                    • Leftie

                      And you distract well Adam.

                    • Leftie

                      “so long as the Labour stalwarts like yourself try and deflect conversation away from that, the more people will distrust Labour.” Seriously Weka? you have a cheek to say that, so in other words you want to shut me down from making opinions, which is all that they are, particularly when it comes to distractionary Labour bashing? So what meaningful purpose does Labour of the past bashing serve when dealing with issues right now? I disagree that my comments are kneejerk, but I guess I would say that, just like you would disagree that posting about Labour instead of the last 8 1/2 years of the Key/Maori party regime is derailing the topic. I am not the only thinking that. BTW, I am supportive of the Greens as well.

              • Doogs

                +1000 Sabine

    • Paul 2.3

      The Labour Party is just another section of the neoliberal establishment.
      Just look at the opposition Corbyn is facing for challenging the orthodoxy.
      Look at what happened to Cunliffe in NZ.
      Look at the hatchet job done on Hone last election.

      Labour is part of the problem.
      They did the damage in the 1980s and have NEVER reneged on that.

      • MJH 2.3.1

        And, ironically and sadly, the Guardian is one of the leaders in the attack on Corbyn — who is the best hope to turn around the social welfare situation in Britain in over a generation! And, I wonder, who is our best hope to do so here?

    • Chuck 2.4

      After all it was National who increased the benefit for families with children beyond inflation for the first time in 30 years…Labour were left with…well…crickets chirping… comes to mind.

      IMO the issue of poverty comes unstuck when its debated in a first world country like NZ. Absolute poverty verse relative poverty…

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.4.1

        Your opinion is based on wilful ignorance and malice. You refuse to measure poverty, then when others measure it you label and abuse them.

        Your opinions literally spread disease.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Child poverty has always been here – especially among Maori and Pacific populations…

    I’m pretty sure that Māori and other Pacifica children, prior to 1840, weren’t in poverty.

    • Stuart Munro 3.1

      Yeah – maybe not – NZ was often a pretty hungry place before the potato arrived, if you’ve heard the Ngai Tahu speak on infanticide.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Yes and I’ve read account of the effects of eating bracken root when there is not enough other sustenance (it’s carcinogenic).

        The difference is that once you get to killing babies because there isn’t enough food, that’s affecting everyone. That’s not the same as there being some people over there fully fed and you over here having to kill your child so others in your family will survive. Big difference.

        I’m not sure I would call periodic food shortage ‘poverty’ in the way we are talking about today. Today’s poverty is a direct result of greed and ideology, absolutely nothing to do with resources shortages, and thus it is our shame.

        I linked this the other day, which is one perpective that is often missing in these conversations,

        https://kupumamae.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/the-lost-world-of-maori-wealth-abundance/

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I’ll add that you can’t grow kumara south of Chch (the bracken root stories are from the south), so Southern Māori have a different experience of hunger I think.

        • weston 3.1.1.2

          The whole world loves a nice fairy tale weka and thats what your link sounds like to me not meaning any disrespect although id certainly agree that the flip side of capitalism is often poverty .I imagine it wasnt much fun being a slave in the old days being reminded if you misbehaved you would be in the pot which surely would have happened from time to time even if it was just said in jest !
          I guess a historian could reasonably state how long a particular tribe might have lived in peacefull abundance for but in any case human animals are notorious for Not getting along togeather for very long and little nirvanas generally are displaced by major bloodbaths because humans are the most violent animals on the planet .

          • weka 3.1.1.2.1

            Hi weston, where do you get the peaceful nirvana bit from? That’s not in the article. I think your slavery/cannibalism thing is off too.

            What that article is describing is a different set of values and a different economic system. What is described isn’t incompatible with a warrior culture nor other practices we modern ones might find distasteful or repugnant.

            It’s very easy for us to buy into the nasty, brutish and short myth about earlier times, especially indigenous peoples, but there is a lot of evidence that we are wrong in that characterisation. Doesn’t mean everything was rosie, it’s just challenging our assumptions and preconceived ideas.

            My point in posting it was to support the idea that the poverty we are normalising now was probably not something that was the normal for Māori pre-contact (although I am sure there were instances of it, all peoples have bad apples).

            Plus, this, which is saying that there were useful things in pre-contact life that we can learn from now.

            We had values in our traditional system that need to be brought back. Most people would say that we cant go back to the way we were, and no we can’t. But we can go back to the principles by which our lives and society were driven by. We can create economies that are stimulated by values of giving, instead of taking, and driven by meaningful relationships. These principles work because they are people centered values. And this photo is proof that they work.

            • Chuck 3.1.1.2.1.1

              I suggest you read Paul Moon’s This Horrid Practice.

              Cannibalism was widespread among New Zealand Māori until the mid-19th century.

              Children were as much at risk of being eaten as were adults, normally they were the “defeated tribe” and if not used as slaves were cooked for dinner.

              • Draco T Bastard

                And another RWNJ pops in to distract from the point.

                • Chuck

                  Draco from your post 3

                  “I’m pretty sure that Māori and other Pacifica children, prior to 1840, weren’t in poverty.”

                  Please define poverty pre 1840 compared to 2016…

                  I will help: Pre 1840 they just had to make sure the tribe they belonged to excelled at winning battles with other tribes, or they become slaves or worse be cooked and eaten.

            • weston 3.1.1.2.1.2

              Sweet weka i get what you are saying and loath and despise whats commonly called “progress “soon for example we are all gonna be treated to the “wonderfull ” daylight saving a modern day example of mass stupidity i.m.o.It seems to escape people that the days grow longer all by themselves as summer rolls around.I’d be quite happy with horse transport too ive experienced this and would equate it to sailing {im talking about horse and cart or gig }in that you move along in almost perfect quiet but natrual physical motion and you got all the time in the world .Of course the olden day doctor who got called out to a childbirth gone wrong in the middle of the night to some faraway farmhouse somewhere wouldnt have appreciated the ride especially if he’d already put in a good days work !makes me laugh when i here todays doctors complaining of how hard done by they are .
              im sure olden day maori had some good ideas but like people everywhere including myself they probably had plenty of sillier ones also .

        • Stuart Munro 3.1.1.3

          nice – Asia has a similar set of values.

          You may be aware families meet in spring and autumn and children receive red envelopes of money. Less visible is that the adults give money, not just to the children, but predominantly to the oldest family member (usually a grandmother). You don’t have to give money, but if you don’t, no-one bows to you. Your status is determined by what you give, and the grandmother usually redistributes some in favour of unmarried daughters or anyone who needs a little help. Asian governments understand it too – if you don’t support people, don’t expect loyalty or respect.

          Part of the Maori potlatch culture survives at any social function – “the food must win the battle” is the axiom. My grandfather’s gardening and fishing exploits were very much geared to feeding his neighbours. I wonder if a Green army of gardeners and preservers could begin to reverse the fortunes of those impoverished by the cruel and stupid neo-liberal policies of the Key Kleptocracy.

          (Meyer lemons now thrive in Dunedin – I’ve a feeling the kumara will too)

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        Māori had a higher life expectancy at birth than the British did:

        Māori may have had a life expectancy at birth of more than 30, compared with less than 30 for people in Britain.

        And it wasn’t just Māori that practised infanticide when population got too high for available resources either.

        • Stuart Munro 3.1.2.1

          One of the reasons colonialism was less contested in some parts of NZ than elsewhere is that it had some visible value at the time. The flipside of course is than this government, by demonstrably failing massively in every social dimension, is not long for this world.

          But Malthus is worth reading:

          “In New Zealand Cook found the checks to population being war and starvation so great as to prompt cannabilism in a country where now… deaths seem not to exceed 15 per thousand.”

          I agree that poverty is socially constructed to some degree, and that occasional food shortages are not necessarily poverty. But preEuropean NZ had lost or never acquired many of the crops and technologies that were the wealth of premonetary societies – the potato was a big deal at the time.

          Now of course the Gnats are reintroducing cannabilism in the form of rentier capitalism. The dark gods rejoice at their enthusiastic embrace of all things evil.

    • mpledger 3.2

      Of course they were. Disease still existed, food shortages still existed, slavery still existed, war still existed prior to 1840. It’s just that it effected everyone pretty much.

  4. Shameful and accurate article. Homelessness normalised too now imo. The gears grind on…

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      Aye. Also, the normalisation of Union bashing. This is all part of the Key’s 12 year plan where he hopes to permanently change the thinking of Kiwis from fair-minded and egalitarian, to divided individualism.

      Another thing which has changed both here and in Britain is the idea that government incompetence and social harm is the opposition’s fault in that they are the weak and disparate ones unable to prevent somehow inevitable injustices, nor put the required pressure on the government to do so. Weirdly, government responsibility doesn’t seem to figure.

      This narrative is promoted by enemies of socially conscious left wing thought and is beginning to become normalised in the thinking of hand-wringing, fence-sitting, centrists in both NZ and the UK. None of whom I expect have lifted a finger to support Labour party values either in the community or at the voting booth in the last decade.

      • Paul 4.1.1

        And the normalisation of making beneficiaries life hell.
        I, Daniel Blake portrays the banality of evil so well.

        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aLEPQ9FYU0U

      • Paul 4.1.2

        And drip by drip , the poison of neoliberalism destroys our society.

      • Bill 4.1.3

        Labour lost its values and its voice way back Muttonbird. I did have some brief hope that they’d get their shit together, renounce the neo-liberal clap trap of the past 30 years and be a Labour Party – y’know, the parliamentary expression of the working class/labour.

        But no. So the problem now is, that on a number of levels, it doesn’t really matter who’s in power – the same neo-liberal shite washes out from the Beehive regardless. There is no opposition and has been no opposition for a few decades. Instead we’ve got dirty little arsewipes drinking at Bellamy’s or wherever with one another and ‘playfully’ jousting over who should get to pull the levers that sends the shit flowing down on us for the next 3 or 4 years.

        • Muttonbird 4.1.3.1

          Agree Labour have been hijacked by a few uncaring Libertarian monsters over the last generation but you are falling into the same trap set by this right-centrist machine which has been allowed to say its piece unchallenged for the last decade – i.e, it’s Labour’s fault.

          I myself think there are clear differences between the the small, shabby, part-time, see-how-it-goes governance of the National party and the worker-responsible, forward-thinking, vision-based ideas of the current opposition.

          It just seems everyone right of Little, and left of Little wants to shut any vestige of traditional Labour ideals down.

          • Bill 4.1.3.1.1

            Well…Labour did ‘introduce’ NZ to neo-liberalism. Does that mean they are to blame for every mis-step and fuck-you policy of a National Government? No.

            But they are a part of that machine you mention.

            And until they absolutely disavow neo-liberalism (the UK Labour Party is in the throes of that process and the SNP have already, largely done it, so – no excuses), then anything they say is wont to be shit dribbling from the left corner of the same mouth that National dribbles shit from the right corner of.

            I understand that many people who are loyal to the Labour Party find that difficult to take on board, but harsh as it is, it is fairly accurate.

        • Jason 4.1.3.2

          National are in government dick head!

  5. Paul 5

    Shameful.
    I am embarrassed to come from a country that allows this.

  6. Paul 6

    This sums up the article.

    “It’s cut-throat in New Zealand. If you’re struggling you get left behind.”

    What a repulsive ethos.
    The revolting trolls who defend this ghastly neoliberal government should be forced to see what it’s like to fall behind.
    Maybe then some empathy might happen.

  7. mauī 7

    Something’s not right in the ponzi scheme. Then again its probably working as designed.

  8. Paul 8

    Child poverty is just a symptom.
    As are high suicide rates.
    As are high incarceration rates.
    As are low levels of trust.
    As are highlevels of drug abuse.
    As are high levels of obesity.

    The disease is neoliberal capitalism.
    It is destroying our society.
    And our planet.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Read this article a few hours back, and I cannot think of anything constructive to say that hasn’t been already said.

    It just didn’t have to be like this.

    • Paul 9.1

      It didn’t.
      We were complacent and allowed the plutocrats to seize power back.
      And we forgot how ruthless they are.

    • AmaKiwi 9.2

      RedLogix

      +1

    • weka 9.3

      +2 Red. The time for words is probably past.

    • BM 9.4

      Maybe the people in this article should take up the offer and move to where there are vacant state houses.

      They obviously can’t afford Auckland.

      • weka 9.4.1

        Is that a rhetorical question? I assume you didn’t read the article.

        • BM 9.4.1.1

          Yes, did I miss something?

          • weka 9.4.1.1.1

            Pretty much everything BM.

            • righty right 9.4.1.1.1.1

              poor are poor because they want to be poor the economy needs poor we need a pool of exploitable labor not everyone can have a roof or food money goods and services has to be rationed 1/2 trillion in debt its poor who need to pay for the excesses of the wealthy

      • Paul 9.4.2

        Are you defending this state of affairs?
        Maybe you should have read this part. It applies to you.

        “The empathy Kiwis are famous for has hardened. Over the last 20 years we have increasingly blamed the people needing help for the problem.”

    • George Hendry 9.5

      Kia ora RedLogix 🙂

      Wrote this a week or so ago, will try again.

      #1 We know the names of the MPs who voted down the Feed The Kids bill. They should all be on trial for manslaughter. They voyed it down, we didn’t. This needs to enter everyday conversation.

      #2 Many contributors here write about ‘what an uncaring, selfish society we have become…’ Unproven allegation, and entirely beside the point.

      #3 If the government had SPECIFICALLY CAMPAIGNED at the last election on a promise to Reduce 300 000 Kids To Poverty By 2016, and still been elected, point #2 would be more tenable. But, THEY DIDN’T – they lied to us by omission.

      #4 Conversely, if the government had PASSED the Feed The Kids bill, and immediately been confronted with hundreds of angry protesters, how DARE you feed those undeserving kids etc, point #2 would be more arguable.

      #5 Excusing the government’s sociopathic crime on the grounds that ‘we voted them in’ before they committed it is like blaming all former associates of a person who then goes on to commit a crime because ‘they should have known he would.’

      #6 If a company CEO and/or board ‘go rogue’ and do other than what they were trusted by the company shareholders to do, they commit crime and get to be held responsible for their crime , or at least that is what should happen. The shareholders don’t get to accept that it must be their own fault for having elected a CEO and board in the first place.

      Not wishing to be disagreeable, RL, but maybe it did have to be like this.

      And will have to go on being, until enough of us learn to make the distinction I have made, between those who commit a crime and those who happen to be in the same area or country when the crime was committed.

      Nor does the fact that ‘a series of crimes began do be committed in 1984’ in any way excuse us from taking steps to rectify ANY crime committed since then, ‘because if we can’t fix them all we shouldn’t try to fix any.’ BOLLOCKS.

      When enough of us understand that They committed this crime, that we know exactly when, where and who They were, and that WE ARE THE POLICE because the crims themselves stole our last lot, what to do next will become clearer.

      • maninthemiddle 9.5.1

        1. It is up to parents to feed their kids, not the government.
        2. Manslaughter means someone died. Who died in NZ of starvation?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.5.1.1

          1. Is a trite unoriginal slogan that offers no insight into actual conditions on Earth.
          2. Starvation is but one of the possible consequences of poor diet and accommodation.

          • maninthemiddle 9.5.1.1.1

            If someone is to be charged with manslaughter, someone must have died. Who died because they couldn’t afford food?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.5.1.1.1.1

              Go back and read “2” again until you either understand the point it makes or someone charitably explains it to you.

              • maninthemiddle

                Go back and read the post I was responding to. You have a habit of jumping in to the middle of a discussion and totally misunderstanding the thread. Or perhaps you’re just thick.

                • George Hendry

                  Here’s my answer. Your response (if any) will show your motivation.

                  I chose the voting down of the Feed The Kids bill as one example among many of National and ACT penalising defenceless kids to get at their parents. Honestly (if you can), does it matter what exactly they die of when deprived of the means of sustenance?

                  Does eg dying of black mould somehow not count because, technically, it isn’t starving?!

                  • maninthemiddle

                    What does the ‘Feed the Kids ‘ Bill have to do with dying of mould? I ask again, who has died of starvation in nZ?

                    “…penalising defenceless kids to get at their parents.”
                    No-one’s proposing that. But it is a parents job to feed their kids, not the governments. Feeding everyone’s children is simply going to extend a welfare mentality that has already done this country enormous damage.

      • Chooky 9.5.2

        +100 George Hendry…”We know the names of the MPs who voted down the Feed The Kids bill. They should all be on trial for manslaughter. They voyed it down, we didn’t. This needs to enter everyday conversation.”

        …yup they should be held to account

        ….and also those who deliberately destroyed the Mana Party ( discounting many votes in the process, mine included)…this really was a grassroots/flaxroots socialist Party honestly committed to giving priority to the poorest of the poor and bringing New Zealand back to being an egalitarian society

        • George Hendry 9.5.2.1

          Thanks OAB and Chooky for your response and support. I hope we can take this conversation further along the way.

          (Voted, noted voyed, you will have guessed. Edit time ran out 🙂 )

          And many thanks, man in the middle, for illustrating the problem of misunderstanding so succinctly.

          For about 20 years CPAG have been pointing out that it is unethical and wrong to punish (starve, in several ways) kids for the inadequacy/marginalisation/unemployment of their parents. Which is what Working For Families does.

          Government threat : ‘Get work, or we starve your kids.’ (To prove it, PRESTO!!! we take away the old Family Benefit.)

          Irresponsible parent response : Go right ahead. I treat them much worse than that anyway.’

          Kid : ‘Do you expect me to find work for my parents? Is that part of my job description? And you’ll starve me if I fail?’

          Government : ‘Yes, actually. Irresponsible parents are not new. That’s why the old Family Benefit went to the mother who could be more relied on to feed the kids rather than spend it at the pub. ESPECIALLY if the old man didn’t have a job.

          ‘What’s new is that we’ve taken that safety net away, but here’s the really brilliant bit. We’ve conned the public into believing that THEY DID IT, so it must be THEIR FAULT, NOT OURS.’

          • Chuck 9.5.2.1.1

            George I don’t doubt you have good intentions…but its people like you who are to blame by allowing irresponsible parents to continue down there chosen path of taking little to no responsibility for their kids.

            A good parent no matter if they are on a benefit, or have a $100k salary makes sure the kids are feed and looked after. And a parent on $100k salary could also still be irresponsible parent…its not restricted to parent/s on benefits.

            The Feed the Kids Bill example you have used is just bonkers…manslaughter? FFS it just shows how far from reality you are.

            • George Hendry 9.5.2.1.1.1

              Hi Chuck

              Thanks for your response.

              You and maninthemiddle will just have to disagree with me. I hold that kids shouldn’t suffer from the irresponsibility of their parents, we should help these kids out. You hold that they should suffer, not be helped out.

              There is no one ‘reality’ – reality is different for everyone. I hope to remain far from your reality. However, thanks for contributing to this – it does need to be debated.

  10. David 10

    This article is a mirror through which we should judge ourselves as a society and nation….. it does not reflect well on us

    I am very angry that our feckless press only focus on infotainment and not concentrating on holding our Government to account for its cynical exploitation of the vulnerable.

    The article does not paint any of us in a good light. We all know it is not right and that NZ is basically rotten at the core and condone that state of affairs by not questioning and demanding answers. Apathy and indifference is what “she’ll be right” really means.

  11. Mrs Brillo 11

    I have a hunch that Ms Roy is an Aussie journalist that has been sent here to beef up the local content in the Australian edition of the Guardian with stories that clickbait its Australian readership.
    Don’t expect much positivity or good news from her when New Zealand is the topic.
    Mind you, Oz copped a lot of flak in the Guardian in recent months over its detention camp policies – perhaps shining a torch on New Zealand’s failings helps them retain Aussie readers.

  12. Sabine 12

    might be a nice thing to view

  13. whispering kate 13

    Twice now the Guardian has exposed NZ in a shameful way, firstly with the polluted town water supply of Havelock North and the 2000+ people sick from drinking the water and from a supposedly developed nation and now this expose of the amount of poverty in this country and not just of unemployed or sick people but from parents who work a job each and still cannot get above the bread line. Hopefully somebody will now do a story on the amount of young rheumatic fever sufferers here, another symptom of poverty which is disgraceful for our modern times. My oh my the PM and his Cabinet must be mighty peeved at the criticism sleeted at its performance and put out there on the world stage, of being elected to work for the people, all the people not just the top 2%. Worthless bunch of tossers the lot of them.

    • Garibaldi 13.2

      Trouble is WK , there’s still no strength in the opposition.

      • Paul 13.2.1

        And no media

      • whispering kate 13.2.2

        Just because the Government are a beligerent, nasty pack of low lifers and carry on likewise in question time, why should the opposition have to stoop to their level, never in my entire life have I seen such a bunch of ill mannered, insulting, shallow and sarcastic lot, my mother would be horrified at how they carry on. The Speaker has a lot to answer for not trying to stop their efforts to avoid answering questions in the house. Also, when the Government are out of school so to speak they still carry on in such a cringing manner that its a wonder we can keep our heads up with it. They need a lesson in manners and decency.

    • mosa 13.3

      Life is sweet on PLANET KEY.
      Its almost like North Korea where there is misery and starvation and neglect but its ignored because its all for the glory of the Dear Leader and every now and again a brave foreign correspondent will tell the world the truth of what the government is hiding and the human cost of of inaction and ignorance and brutality and all because of ideology , greed and corruption.
      And no one can criticise the regime thanks too the governments mass surveillance shutting out any dissent.
      We are slowly turning into what our grandfathers and others were fighting against and giving their lives too defeat in the last attack on freedom ,values and humanity and a strong democracy the very things the Americans say they uphold and encourage all nations too emulate.
      We are becoming a dictatorial state quietly and accepting it without protest or question.
      Its now the new normal and Key cant believe how easy its all been.
      There is something in New Zealanders water alright and its sure as hell not campylobacter!!

    • Michelle 13.4

      Yes Kate part of Keys brighter future = more Rheumatic fever cases

  14. save nz 14

    Shocking. Key’s reign of terror, uncovered internationally.

  15. whispering kate 15

    Let us hope that the Guardian does this a lot more often and takes up the slack of our own MSM – what a disgrace that it takes an international media outlet to expose what is happening in our own back yard. I hope they keep up the good work.

    • Sanctuary 15.1

      I see the Herald online has suddenly discovered the story.

      It is criminal that the Herald has to rely on reporters for a newspaper based 20,000km away to discover the scandal of our child poverty just 20km from their head office front door.

      • rhinocrates 15.1.1

        “A story so important that even the Herald had to report it” could be a default subheading for stories about what life is really like in New Zealand today.

    • mosa 15.2

      Yeah Kate thinking for a moment -How did we get to this situation in our country where we are just not being informed about the real issues and the truth about whats happening.
      We had a great fourth estate once and real in depth reporting and informed opinion.
      This is NOT the country i grew up in and was proud of and felt safe.
      Here is a campaign theme for next year -John we want our country back!

  16. Ralf Crown 16

    It is not only about child poverty and children go hungry, it is about a society in decline and self destruction. 30 to 40 years ago New Zealand was the envy of the world, today it is the worlds cesspool. It is the same for the elderly – living in poverty in cold moldy houses, making a decision on food or heat, the country is heavily polluted latest an entire town poisoned. Lakes and waterways heavily polluted, medical care of third world standard, below Cuba according to UN. Get rid of Key. It was not as bad before he came into power.

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